A GREEN RIVER Opens Friday PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Tyson Danner   
Friday, 05 July 2013 11:54
A Green River Flows Through the QC Theatre Workshop, July 5 through 14
When the QC Theatre Workshop debuts its world-premiere presentation of A Green River, running at the Davenport venue July 5 through 14, author Aaron Randolph III will celebrate the end of a lengthy journey, as he's spent the last five years writing, re-writing, and continually developing his powerful combat-veteran drama.
Yet considering that the production's rehearsal process, as Randolph says, has been a truly collaborative effort between himself, director Daniel DP Sheridan, and the show's five-person cast – with entire scenes sometimes shaped primarily through improvisation – he won't be celebrating alone.
“Everyone has contributed to the finished product,” says Randolph, “either through making suggestions for dialogue changes, or helping organize the material in more effective ways, or reinterpreting lines in ways I never would've imagined on my own. And while this sort of collaboration can sometimes turn 'simple fixes' into major undertakings, the end result is a much stronger play.”
Adds Sheridan, “The depth brought to this production by the artists involved is what makes this one of the most dynamic theatrical pieces I've ever been involved with. There have been some heated discussions and disagreements, but they've only made us delve even deeper into this story.”
A Green River centers on the character of Erik (portrayed by Thomas Alan Taylor), a young Army veteran who has returned from overseas to a world he now struggles to recognize. Told through a kaleidoscopic blend of present-day sequences, flashbacks, memories, and dreams, the 90-minute drama explores the frequently harsh realities of being a soldier, a husband, a son, a brother, and an expectant father – obligations that weigh heavily on Erik's already troubled mind.
Yet despite A Green River's weighty material, Sheridan states, “The script is incredibly engaging and really captures the scope of Erik's life. And in any life, there are moments of great joy and sorrow. I really think the audience will have a full emotional experience, because this play is heartbreaking, funny, scary, honest, dangerous, and thrilling.”
“The show is all about very human people dealing with wide ranges of emotions,” adds Randolph, whose production also features Jessica Sheridan, Joe Goodall, Jessica Denney, and Mike Schulz as significant figures in Erik's life. “So while there are some intense moments, there's also a great deal of love and humor in the play. I actually hope people find themselves laughing a lot during the course of the show.”
Taylor, whose character is seen at many different ages over a two-decade period, is himself no stranger to the process of working on debuting scripts, as the actor appeared in five original theatrical productions as a student at the University of Iowa.
“Being part of a premiere really pushes you to re-attach to the role of storyteller,” says Taylor, “because it's the only time the story itself is being developed along with the production. And it's very rewarding to be part of something that's never been done before. There's a higher sense of ownership for all of us, especially since this process has involved so much improvisation.”
As for the role he has been entrusted with, Taylor says, “I love the challenge of bringing clarity and specificity to Erik's journey. It's extremely challenging to cover a 20-year arc, a harrowing struggle with civilian stresses, and the suffering of a modern American soldier all within the script's stream-of-consciousness structure. Aaron has done tremendous work, and being able to give breath to Erik through his words is quite an honor.”
A Green River is also a considerable technical challenge, with the show's sprawling riverfront set, lighting, and original sound effects and music – composed by Randolph himself – contributing greatly to the show's tone.
“We are focused on using the technical elements to heighten the psychological state of Erik's character,” says Sheridan. “We want the audience to not only witness, but feel, the stress Erik is under. And we're really pushing ourselves as artists in terms of expanding the experience at appropriate moments. We're holding nothing back in our design options.”
Adds Randolph, “The play is about blending very natural things with very surreal things, and I'm trying to blend sound and music so there's a constant flow between reality and memory.
“I kind of have this sword-forging mentality about how I like to work,” he continues. “When you make a sword, you shape the metal into place only to heat it back up and fold the metal again. By doing this over and over again, you end up with something that's effective and strong. And hopefully, that's what we're making here.”
A Green River will be staged at the QC Theatre Workshop (1730 Wilkes Avenue, Davenport, IA) Friday, July 5, through Sunday, July 14, with show times at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 3 p.m. on Sundays. Due to the play's adult language and violent scenes, this debuting drama is recommended for mature audiences, and as with the QC Theatre Workshop's previous productions, the show will be presented under the company's unique “Pay What It's Worth” policy, allowing audience members to determine their own ticket prices following each performance based on the quality of their theatrical experience.
For reservations and more information on A Green River, please call (563)650-2396 or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , and visit QCTheatreWorkshop.org and Facebook.com/QCTheatreWorkshop.
A Green River performance dates:
Friday, July 5 – 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 6 – 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 7 – 3 p.m.
Friday, July 12 – 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 13 – 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 14 – 3 p.m.
Location:
QC Theatre Workshop
1730 Wilkes Avenue, Davenport, Iowa, 52804
(563)650-2396
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
QCTheatreWorkshop.org
Facebook.com/QCTheatreWorkshop
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